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Crockett landscapers state champs

By Michael Baker, Staff Writer
David Crockett High School’s Future Farmers of American recently brought home a state championship. Four students, senior Rebekah Wright and juniors Bryce Bateman, Kareena Jones and Jonathan Lykins made up the winning nursery and landscaping FFA team.
To win, the group took part in five individual events and one team event. Individual events included everything from a general knowledge exam, plant identification and landscaping estimating to a written or verbal assistance exercise and a nursery production exercise.
The team activity involved a landscape drawing and presentation of the drawing to a panel of judges as well as submitting a hand written business letter.
Wright, who came to Crockett as a junior, was placed in a greenhouse management class where Ryan Arnett was the instructor.
After being exposed to FFA, Wright became extremely involved with her chapter, leading her to become the East Tennessee FFA president.
“It is truly about leadership, and being involved,” she said.
Lykins became a part of FFA because of his older sister, who was very active when she was a student at Crockett.
Batemen became involved with FFA because he has always had a passion for the outdoors.
“The forestry competitions and scholarship opportunities made me want to be part of FFA,” he said.
The four students, under the direction of Arnett, prepared for the regional tournament, which was held at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.
After coming out on top at regionals, it was off to the state contest at Tennessee Tech University in Cookeville.
The team won first place by 31 points, beating more than 13,000 other FFA members to earn the title of state champions.
“I am overwhelmingly impressed by this team. They had lots of fun preparing and traveling to the contest, but when it was time to focus they focused,” Arnett said. “They really excelled in the team event, and getting a perfect score. They are a close-knit team that believes in unity.”
The team will be competing in the national FFA nursery and landscaping contest at the national FFA convention in Indianapolis in October.
Although Wright is a senior, she plans on competing with her team in October. Even though she is graduating this week, she can still compete because her membership with FFA is good until she is 21.
Wright will continue her presidential role post graduation. She plans on remaining an asset to the FFA chapter at Crockett as well as being involved with all chapters within her district. Wright plans on attending UT to major in agriculture communications.